Running a successful business has never been easy, but 2020 presented entrepreneurs across the world with some truly unique challenges. In a post-COVID economy, it is now more important than ever to reassess your entire approach and come up with new and effective ways to make your business bulletproof.
We at Leverage Media have spent many years helping businesses develop branding and marketing strategies that help them withstand the ever-changing demands of the market. We distilled the most important lessons we learned along the way into these four simple steps.
Step #1: Figure Out Your Vision and Long-Term Goals
You cannot run a business without a vision. And just to be clear, turning a profit is not a good enough vision.
A great vision is about so much more than money. It is about the dent you want your company to leave in the world. Your role in the large scheme of things. The ways in which you impact the environment, your local community, and society as a whole.
Your vision is what gives your company its direction and purpose. A simple yet powerful idea that everyone on your team believes in and can get behind.
Just remember: your vision has to be ambitious enough to inspire and motivate people at a deeper level, but it shouldn’t be too scary and larger than life, either.
KPIs vs. OKRs
Once you have defined your vision, break it down into smaller, concrete goals and map out a way to achieve them — and no, we are not talking about KPIs.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, have their place in business strategy. However, when it comes to tying specific goals to a larger objective such as your company vision, what you need are OKRs — objective and key results.
By linking objectives to key results, you are able to define a detailed strategic framework that supports your larger vision.
Typically, you will have three to five broader (but measurable and time-bound) objectives and about as many key results per objective. You can then set KPIs for the sub-tasks within each objective.
The OKR framework was originally popularized by Google and Intel, but it’s also the preferred goal management strategy used by Amazon, LinkedIn, Spotify, Coca Cola, and other hugely successful companies. And no wonder: OKRs are uniquely suited for organizations that are heavily focused on growth.
Step #2: Figure Out What You Are Doing Right Already
In order for you to grow, you have to go outside your comfort zone. However, that doesn’t mean you have to let go of everything that you have learned so far.
Instead, what’s needed here is a delicate balancing act. You want to dissect your current business strategy and the results it’s bringing. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Then, double down on the former and think of ways to fix the latter.
Step #3: Figure Out How to Become Recession-Proof
We cannot stress this enough: in today’s economy, if you don’t go with the trend, your risk being wiped out.
However, that doesn’t mean you should change your vision and your core values every time the market changes. What it does mean is that you want to adapt your methods and strategy in keeping with the times. Think of it this way: you don’t need to change the course of your ship, but you have to ride the waves.
Netflix vs. Blockbuster
Consider the now-infamous case of Netflix vs. Blockbuster. Back in the 80s and early 90s, Blockbuster was the undisputed market leader on the home video scene.
However, it failed to pick up on changing consumer trends and developments in technology. Instead of migrating online like the new kid on the block, Netflix, Blockbuster wasted an inordinate amount of time and resources on developing a doomed-to-fail DVD mail rental system. The rest, as they say, is history.
Step Up Your Online Marketing
Don’t be like Blockbuster. In a post-pandemic world, you need to come up with new and better ways to acquire customers online.
Jump on the bandwagon and embrace change — and do so early. Make your products and services available on the Internet and create an online-based business model: from stepping up your social media engagement and investing in organic ads to starting a content marketing strategy and beyond.
Step #4: Become Omnipresent
Last but not least, you want to be everywhere.
No, we have not gone mad. Hear us out.
When we say “omnipresent,” what we mean is that you should diversify your online marketing efforts. Your content strategy should target multiple networks and media outlets.
Do you ever wonder why all these influencers post on more than one social media channel? It’s simple: that allows their message to reach a higher number of people and help generate a bigger following.
Not only do they attract people from all walks of life, but they also get to cement their online presence. This way, if one social media network were to go down, they would still have plenty of other avenues to go to.
Remember when India banned TikTok? The shutdown wrecked many a career, with a number of influencers losing not just revenue but their livelihoods. However, those who had a diverse and balanced social media portfolio were able to quickly bounce back and redirect their efforts elsewhere.
And you don’t have to produce original content for different social media outlets, either: you can reuse and recycle what you already have. For instance, you can write articles to post on your website or blog. You can then adapt the text into easy-to-understand scripts for YouTube videos. These, in turn, can be cut into smaller videos for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
When running a business, you quickly realize how many things are outside of your control: from consumer behavior to natural disasters, pandemics, economic downturns, and more.
What is within your control, however, is your reaction to changing circumstances as well as your willingness to take appropriate measures and adapt. For the time being, that involves going digital, diversifying your media channels, and having a crystal-clear company vision.